Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Review: Superman Son Of Kal-El #3

Superman Son of Kal-El #3 came out last week and was easily the best issue of this young series. There is some great super-hero action. There is some wonderful Kent family moments. And there is even some fun.

Writer Tom Taylor does inject some of the social justice politics that he has done in the series. It is one good moment in the book. But, as usual, Taylor scratches the surface and really doesn't answer some of the tough questions about these issues. It is easy to write difficult political situations when you make them so clearly easy. But we'll see.

I also like that Taylor treats Jon's new friend Jay a bit more realistically. Before this, Jay has struck me a sort of pretentious know-it-all. At [least here he seems a bit more human. 

I have always loved John Timms' art. His stuff is great here. The super-action is big and vibrant and dynamic. And he is just stylized enough, veering near Humberto Ramos but never getting that crazy. I've liked his stuff since Harley Quinn. 

On to the book.

In Central City, a high-rise is falling.

Clark and Jon decide to team up as only they can. Clark hold the building up as long as he can. Meanwhile Jon streaks in and out saving the 472 occupants and their pets.

I love this page. The panel gutters put at an angle mirror the building falling. Jon swooping out of the panel borders feel like he is going from room to room.

And seeing the two team up like this is just great. Would love to see Jon and Kara team up like this when Clark is off-world.

Nearby, a young woman dressed in green and purple, the word Faultline on her chest, is confused.

She seems to be the source of the destruction. She packs a wallop, flooring Superman. But she doesn't know how she got there. She seems to have some sort of gravity powers and so she is taken to the STAR Labs weightless room, nullifying her destructive power.

I really like this opening scene. Jon saying Faultline is dressed like a super-villain is a great line. She is wearing the green and purple. She has her name on her costume. But the best part is the teamwork of the Kents.

Then Jon streaks to Metropolis where people are protesting the detainment of the Gamorran refugees that Jon brought into the city. This is an illegal gathering. The police are starting to arrest the protestors. The Jon shows up.

He gives a nicely worded speech. He reminds people that Superman is a refugee who came to the country for sanctuary. That is all these refugees want. If the cops are going to arrest people, they will need to arrest him. Which they do.

It is very easy for Taylor to show this as the high road. Every protestor is super-peaceful. So why shouldn't Jon break the law with them.

But this isn't reality.

What if some of the protestors began throwing things at the police? Would Jon support that? 
What if some of the protestors began destroying things? Would he support that?
What if the police started beating some of the protestors? Would Jon attack the cops?
What if a riot broke out?
Because those things happen.
It might be interesting to see if Taylor will show some more sticky situations.
Do I want someone with the S-shield condoning violence on either side?

As for the refugee speech, there are things some folks might add to that speech.
Like Superman was a refugee. But he embraced the country and its customs.
He learned that he needed to work hard to achieve things.
He learned the language and didn't expect people to speak Kryptonese to him.

I am not saying I agree with any of those sentiments. But there are those who might take that refugee argument that way. And could Jon deny it? 

This is my problem with inserting sensitive real world issues into these book overtly.

Sure enough, Jon gets tossed in the clink ... for 45 minutes.

There is Superman to get him out. Actually, Jon's charges were dropped as were the charges against all the protestors.

Now this panel makes it seem like Superman is disapproving of the whole thing. I wondered if Taylor might make Superman try and rein in Jon's activism. Because maybe he wouldn't want to S-shield to associated with someone committing a crime.

Instead, Superman is glad Jon used his platform.

I'm glad they didn't make this some sort of generation gap thing between the Kents.

Out of jail, the Supers decide to head home for dinner. Jon invites his new friend Jay to join them.

I love how Jay, the budding journalist, geeks out when he meets Lois Lane. Timms really sells it with the awkward body language on Jay in the second panel. 

How cool that Lois is as big hero as Superman. 

But then it is time, again, for Superman to say goodbye. He is heading off world. 

He asks Jon to not try and follow him, not try to rescue him should he need it.

Jon laughs that off. He knows Superman wouldn't let Jon stay out there. And Superman says it. He'd track Jon down. 

And nice sentiment. I like that Jon won't let Superman suffer out there. That is not how he was raised. And it shows some maturity to stand up to his father.

You can see Timms style here on that expression on Jon in the first panel. Just stylized enough. 

But remember, Jon feels that this is when Superman becomes lost forever. This is what he learned in the future.

He reminds his father that people on Earth need Superman.

But Clark says the Earth has a Superman ... Jon, the man of tomorrow. 

Given the age and political leanings of Jon, 'Man of Tomorrow' fits him.

Timms' expressive work again shines here. Jon's fear and exasperation is there in the first panel.

With Superman gone, the President Bendix decides it is time to teach Jon a lesson. He springs Faultline, activates her gravity well powers, and drops her on the Kent Farm. 

Great ending. 

So after months of hinting, it seems Superman is finally leaving Earth. Jon has a real enemy now. And Jon has really established who is going to be as Superman. 

I still think the politics are a little too pat. Taylor makes it all seem so easy. There are follow-up questions or uglier aspects to everything that we aren't seeing in this 4 color world. I can more easily believe in aliens absorbing yellow sun rays than politics being so black and white.

But all that said, this was a very good, very entertaining issue. The scenes with Jon and Clark, either saving people or just talking, were fantastic.

Overall grade: B

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

I agree, best issue yet, and it is good that Superman Jr has an enemy all his own. It’s about time some baddie used Clark’s idiot dumping of his secret ID against the Superman Family… then again, surely he’s set up defences at the Kent Farm. Will Brainiac 5 force field tech brought back from the future by Jin come into play?

And a bit fat Agreed as regards the social justice stuff. Dump it, DC.